I could have cried, and I actually did a little. Well, a lot to be honest. The boat had finally arrived to us but our ordeals had only really just begun. The shipping agent that we love so dearly had given us a number of different days and times for arrival, but that story we know. The boat had arrived battered and broken, the keel was split along the hull where they had dragged it along the floor, and the body was scratched and punctured. It looked worse than when I bought the boat after its fourth Atlantic crossing. At 2am we started to do the work that I had planned to take two weeks over. The boat had been left on a steep mudbank with numerous rocks and logs getting underfoot and without the use of a trailer the boat was unstable. This is how Patti sprained her ankle - the boat rolled over onto its side whilst she was on the deck. I'm only thankfully she wasn't hurt more; we were all seriously concerned that she may have broken it.
In our exhausted state we started to make small mistakes; due to a mix-up in communication all of our epoxy resin was mixed for a small job and we couldn't get a system in place for getting unpacked and repacked. When we finally were ready to go we said our goodbyes and shook hands.
A large group of locals helped to push the boat in when at the final moment we heard an awful crunching noise. We were convinced it was the old wooden logs we were using to move the boat but as we got in the water the area in front of the cabin filled with water. We quickly turned on the recently wired-in sump pump and I really thought that that was that, flights home etc, especially as we had no epoxy left for repairs. I lifted the wooden floor to reveal floating wooden hull parts and a quick feel allowed me to put both hands through into the river.
Plans of using quick drying rubber repair kits and plywood were mooted but the locals came to the rescue by finding a floating pontoon for us to work on her. After being dragged upstream 150 metres and pulled out of the water we could see the extent of the damage, and it was bad. The hole I felt was the small one, however both were in the same easily accessible area; had they been across a couple of sections we would still be in Nauta. Murilo had acquired all of the resin and hardener in Nauta, and that was barely enough. This time it was me to make the mistake; I rushed the job and made a bad job of using the fibreglass. This time Murilo had to go to Iquitos to restock; a five-hour round trip. We were still stuck in Nauta, only now we had a broken boat instead of none.
As you may know from our tweets, we made the repairs and set off and hopefully we are making good progress. You should also know that the repairs didn't work and we still have a boat that fills with water, but for now we don't care at all, we are just thankful to be on our way after taking hours in preparation time to do something that most adventurers spend weeks of preparation time doing. The need to bail out the boat every 20 or so minutes just adds to the thrill of it all and helps prove to ourselves that we can overcome any obstacle with the help of good friends.
Well done guys! I've just found the site in time to follow progress. So I'm especially pleased there has been some.
I'm proud to know you Anton, and hope to meet Mark and Murilo too.
I would have cried too ....! And then stamped my tiny foot - alot. Just think, all this will make incredible dining out stories for years to come - and also fabulous fodder for all those post trip TV interviews! We're thinking of you all the way :-) Sarah R-M and Steve Millar (Champs)
I'm so happy you successfully completed all the repairs to the boat and are now on your way!